Running Ground Reaction Force Complexity at the Initial Stance Phase Increased With Ageing

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Sports Biomechanics






Running mechanics could be influenced by some degenerative musculoskeletal changes associated with ageing. However, the shoe effect on ground reaction force (GRF) amplitude and complexity of older runners is still unclear. The objective of our study was to assess the effects of age and shoe on amplitude and complexity of GRF during treadmill running. In total, 20 healthy runners were recruited. GRF data were collected for 13 younger runners and seven older runners during running on an instrumented treadmill at 3.5 m/s. Maximum vertical loading rate and GRF variables were generated. Sample entropy of GRF during the first 20% of the stance phase was calculated to assess GRF complexity. Age and shoe type did not significantly affect the maximal loading rate and GRF. Older participants exhibited higher anteroposterior and vertical GRF sample entropy compared to younger runners. In conclusion, the amplitudes of GRF were not influenced by age group, which indicated that muscle strength in the older runners tested could fulfil mechanical demand (e.g., shock absorption, force generation) during running. However, the increased GRF complexity in initial stance phase with ageing could be a result of reduced muscle contraction coordination and smoothness of force production.